Darren from Extra Base Hit breaks down the toughest division in baseball – the AL East.

New York Yankees

2011 record: 97-65; 1st in AL East
Manager: Joe Girardi
General Manager: Brian Cashman
2012 estimated Payroll: $205.7 million
Odds to win the division: favorite (-185)
Odds to win the American League: 3-1
Odds to win the World Series: 6-1
Over / Under total for wins in 2012: 93
Highest Paid Player: Alex Rodriguez $29 million
Key 2013 free agents: C Russell Martin, OF Nick Swisher, P Hiroki Kuroda
Highest projected 2012 fWAR: Robinson Cano 6.1
Canadians in camp: C Russell Martin
Division Crowns since 1995:  12

Welcome aboard: OF Raul Ibanez, RHP Michael Pineda, RHP Hiroki Kuroda, INF-OF Bill Hall, 1B-DH Russell Branyan, RHP Manny Delcarmen, OF Dewayne Wise.

Thanks for the memories: RHP A.J. Burnett, DH-1B Jorge Posada, RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Hector Noesi, RHP Andrew Brackman, 3B Eric Chavez, DH-C Jesus Montero.

Tampa Bay Rays

2011 record: 91-71; 2nd in AL East (Wild Card winner)
Manager: Joe Maddon
General Manager: Andrew Friedman
2012 estimated Payroll: $68.4 million
Odds to win the division: 5-1
Odds to win the American League: 12-1
Odds to win the World Series: 18/1
Over / Under total for wins in 2012: 86.5
Highest Paid Player: Carlos Pena $7.25 million
Key 2013 free agents: 1B Carlos Pena, OF B.J. Upton
Highest projected 2012 fWAR: Evan Longoria 8.0
Canadians in camp: None
Division Crowns since 1995: 2

Welcome aboard: 1B Carlos Pena, OF Luke Scott, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Fernando Rodney, C Jose Molina, INF Jeff Keppinger, C Chris Gimenez

Thanks for the memories: DH-OF Johnny Damon, C Kelly Shoppach, C John Jaso, 1B Casey Kotchman, 1B Dan Johnson, OF Justin Ruggiano, RHP Juan Cruz, RHP Andy Sonnanstine.

Boston Red Sox

2011 record: 90-72; 3rd in AL East
Manager: Bobby Valentine
General Manager: Ben Cherington
2012 estimated Payroll: 170.6 million
Odds to win the division: 3-1
Odds to win the American League: 5-1
Odds to win the World Series: 9/1
Over / Under total for wins in 2012: 90
Highest Paid Player: Adrian Gonzalez $21 million
Key 2013 free agents: DH David Ortiz
Highest projected 2012 fWAR: Dustin Pedroia 7.1
Canadians in camp: C Max St. Pierre
Division Crowns since 1995: 2

Welcome aboard: Manager Bobby Valentine, RHP Ross Ohlendorf, OF Cody Ross, OF Ryan Sweeney, INF Nick Punto, C Kelly Shoppach, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Mark Melancon, RHP Vicente Padilla, RHP Aaron Cook.

Thanks for the memories: RF J.D. Drew, RF Josh Reddick, SS Marco Scutaro, INF Josh Lowrie, C Jason Varitek, RHP Tim Wakefield, RHP Dan Wheeler, LHP Erik Bedard, RHP Jonathan Papelbon.

Toronto Blue Jays

2011 record: 81-81; 4th in AL East
Manager: John Farrell
General Manager: Alex Anthopoulos
2012 estimated Payroll: $84.1 million
Odds to win the division: 8-1
Odds to win the American League: 18-1
Odds to win the World Series: 30/1
Over / Under total for wins in 2012: 82
Highest Paid Player: Jose Bautista $14 million
Key 2013 free agents: 2B Kelly Johnson, INF Edwin Encarnacion, P Francisco Cordero, P Jason Frasor, P Dustin McGowan
Highest projected 2012 fWAR: Jose Bautista 6.9
Canadians in camp: 3B Brett Lawrie, P Trystan Magnuson, P Scott Richmond (sent down)
Division Crowns since 1995: 0

Welcome aboard: RHP Rick VandernHurk, RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Ben Francisco, LHP Aaron Laffey, C Jeff Mathis, LHP Darren Oliver, RHP Sergio Santos, INF Luis Valbuena, INF Omar Vizquel, RHP Jason Frasor.

Thanks for the memories: RHP Shawn Camp, RHP Frank Francisco, OF Adam Loewen, C Jose Molina, RHP Jon Rauch, INF Mark Teahen, OF Dewayne Wise.

Baltimore Orioles

2011 record: 69-93; 5th in AL East
Manager: Buck Showalter
General Manager: Dan Duquette
2012 estimated Payroll: $97 million
Odds to win the division: 100-1
Odds to win the American League: 80-1
Odds to win the World Series: 150/1
Over / Under total for wins in 2012: 69.5
Highest Paid Player: Nick Markakis $12 million
Key 2013 free agents: none
Highest projected 2012 fWAR: Matt Wieters 5.1
Canadians in camp: none
Division Crowns since 1995: 1

Welcome aboard: LHP Wei-Yin Chen, LHP Dana Eveland, RHP Jason Hammel, RHP Matt Lindstrom, LHP Tsuyoshi Wada, C Taylor Teagarden, 2B Matt Antonelli, OF Endy Chavez, CF Jai Miller, INF Wilson Betemit, INF Ryan Flaherty.
Thanks for the memories: DH Vladimir Guerrero, LF Luke Scott, C Jake Fox, OF Felix Pie, RHP Chris Jakubauskas, RHP Jeremy Guthrie, LHP Jo-Jo Reyes, RHP Rick VandenHurk.

Synopsis

To have a chance of winning the East, the Yankees would just have to stay healthy with Alex Rodriguez returning to the old A-Rod. The Red Sox would need a repeat season from Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, and would need pitchers Josh Beckett and Jon Lester to remain healthy. The Rays starting staff would have to carry the team all season. The Blue Jays would need a season in which the pitching staff and the offense both have career years, and the Orioles would need a miracle to occur.

2012 Predictions:

New York Yankees 95-67
Tampa Bay Rays 93-69
Toronto Blue Jays 86-76
Boston Red Sox 81-81
Baltimore Orioles 67-95

Sources: bet365.com, fanGraphs.com, Baseball-Reference.com

Comments (16)

  1. Boston Red Sox at 81-81? That is probably a mistake.

    Perhaps you inverted Boston and Toronto. Still, that would be a pretty low win total for Boston.

  2. I’ll take those odds.
    and I’ll take that Red Sox collapse too!

    This post made me happy.

  3. Boston in 4th? These projections ah wicked awful bro

  4. The Jays finishing five games ahead of Boston seems… unlikely. I don’t like Boston’s pitching at all, but they’re still not nine games worse than last year’s team.

  5. Boston at best is a third place team with Bobby V. as their manager.

  6. I don’t think Boston can stay healthy, and they still didn’t address the lack of rotation depth. If one guy goes down, who steps in? Their 3 best releivers are gone (2 of them starters now) Melancon is a good addition though.

    Scutaro and lowrie being gone is a bigger loss than most people give credit to. I’m not sold on Jocoby repeating, or Crawford bouncing back, especially with a wrist injury. We all know what wrist injuries do to hitters. (see: Wells, Snider, Encarnacion)

  7. The projection for Boston is crazy. People keep ragging on their starting pitching, and to be perfectly honest, I just don’t get it.

    Lester
    Beckett
    Buchholz
    Bard

    I’d take those 4 over the Jays rotation, and they have better hitting to boot.

    There are obviously question marks over injuries to some extent, but come on…

    • In my mind, Bet365 has the odds pretty well right. There is a better chance that Boston will finish ahead of Tampa than the other way around.

    • Lester is an ace, but he had a mediocre season last year for ace standards.
      Beckett had a great season, but is injury riddled and had two horrid seasons previous.
      Bucholz is another potential stud but is also injury riddled.
      Bard is entering his first season as a starter.

      To say there is concern is completely reasonable, but to say it has the potential to be a strong rotation is not crazy either, which is very similar to the Jays.

      Romero had an outstanding season (aside from W/L) and has improved each of his first 3 seasons.
      Morrow has ace potential, seemed to have figured it out his final month and is showing strong signs so far this spring. Still a big ? though.
      Alverez has outstanding potential, settled in for his first stint nicely last year, but doesn’t have the experience to expect great things right away.
      McGowan – once an expected to be a Roy Halladay replacement and dominant ace faced a ridiculous amount of serious injuries and hadn’t seen the mound for 3 years until last season. Hard to expect anything great from him but if he can continue on what he has been doing, will be a nice surprise.

      • Lester > Romero
        We hope that Morrow turns into Beckett
        Buchholz > Alvarez
        And while I like the story on McGowan, I’d take Bard any day of the week.

        There are no sure things, and I acknowledge the injury risks, but the fact remains that they are way better than people are giving them credit for.

        To try to compare the Jays rotation to them is incredibly wishful thinking.

        And they will also sign Oswalt…

  8. Based on the over-unders listed for the individual teams in the article the projected standings should be:

    New York Yankees 95-67
    Boston Red Sox 93-69
    Tampa Bay Rays 86-76
    Toronto Blue Jays 81-81
    Baltimore Orioles 67-95

  9. I think the Rays are completely over-rated. If you compare their roster with the Yankees, Red Sox and Jays, the Rays are completely over matched at every position (3rd base is about par), the only advantage they have is their 3, 4, 5 starters on paper look better, but when 1/3 of the games they play are against those juggernauts, I think the Rays are in for a losing season this year.

  10. The only catcher the Rays have is Jose Molina!!!

  11. Rays win the division. Red Sox come in second. Yankees finish 3rd and miss the playoffs..

    Their offense is bound to collapse eventually. Teixera, Jeter, Arod have progressively produced less year after year. They have no DH, Martin is an average bat, Granderson isn’t as good as he showed last year.. All in all the only threats are cano and gardner.

    Rays rotation is a complete joke, its absurd really.

    No way in hell red sox finish with 81 wins. They have a top 2 offense in the game and that was with Youk having a horrible year and Agonz lacking power coming off the shoulder injury.

  12. I don’t care how much you dislike the Red Sox rotation this year, they had a 5.73 ERA (over 472.2 IP) from starters not named Beckett, Lester and Buchholz last year. Over half of those innings (297.1) came from Lackey and Wakefield who won’t be playing at all this year.

    If you can’t see how putting almost anyone in those 4th and 5th spots would be addition by subtraction then you need to open your eyes.

    As to the offense, even if you expect several players to regress there’s plenty of opportunity for improvement from other positions as well, most notably the corner OF spots. With the addition of a Sweeney/Ross platoon, the improvement in RF should be quite significant for example (Sox RFers hit 233/302/369 last year).

    Finally, worth noting is that the Sox underperformed their Pythagorean win total by almost 5 wins last year. A drop off in overall performance wouldn’t even necessarily mean their expected win total is below 90 wins.

  13. In all seriousness, is there any way I can take your money by betting that the Red Sox will win more than 81 games? Any way at all? I have PayPal. Thanks.

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